Crops get Christmas drink
SHOWERS cracked a long dry spell and gave Bundaberg crops a welcome Christmas drink over the weekend.
The rainfall has given Bundaberg growers hope that things are returning to normal after the driest six months in the district on record.
And there could be more on the way in the next few days, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
Cane and melon grower Lloyd Greensill was allowing himself some cautious optimism yesterday.
“It’s marvellous,” he said.
“Santa Claus has done us well this year, from a farming perspective and a community perspective.”
Mr Greensill said producers in the area were lucky growers’ bodies had been able to negotiate extra water allocations for them.
“The increased allocations have been valuable to us,” he said.
“The confidence in water supplies to complete the season’s crops are important to us.”
But he is still happy the rain has given his crops a much-needed boost.
Mr Greensill estimated yesterday his crops had received about 35mm of rain over the previous two days.
“It’s been absolutely beautiful – there’s been no hard rain, just showery stuff,” he said.
“It makes us really optimistic looking forward to the new year.”
However, he is aware most scientists believe Australia is in the grip of another El Nino effect, which brings dry weather to the country.
“There was a huge chunk of eastern Australia that had a very sharp dry spell,” he said.
“Some relief rain like this is ideal for the cattle properties that got burnt out – it really gets the grass growing again.
“The cane farmers are certainly smiling.”
The cane farmers might be smiling but it is a different story for Gin Gin mango grower Col Jeacocke.
The rain has come at the worst time for him.
“We are harvesting and this is just the time of year we want dry weather,” he said.
“The rain softens the skin of the fruit, and although it doesn’t affect the quality of the fruit, the skin gets marked during the harvesting process,” he said.
Mr Jeacocke said the wet weather meant he had to shut down harvesting and wait for dry weather.
“The rain is beautiful. It’s hard to say we don’t want it,” he said.
“Unless we get decent rain there will be no water allocation next year.”
Mr Jeacocke said it had been difficult to grow a crop this year.
“We completely grew a crop on irrigation, and that’s the first time we have ever done that,” he said.
“Then we want to pick, we get wet weather.”
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, today’s weather should be much the same as yesterday, with showers tending to rain at times.
In the Wide Bay-Burnett district, the showers will decrease by Wednesday, becoming more scattered.
This trend should continue into Thursday, with only isolated showers in the district.
Things are looking better for the weekend, with a surface trough reaching the south-east border later on Sunday.
This will bring a band of showers and thunderstorms moving into the south-east area later on Sunday.
Keep up-to-date with the latest weather information for Gladstone.